- Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection
Media Contact for Healey-Driscoll Administration Announces Final Allocation of Volkswagen Settlement Funds to Support Transition to Electric Vehicles
Edmund Coletta, MassDEP – Director of Public Affairs
BOSTON — To celebrate Earth Week 2023, the Healey-Driscoll Administration today announced that it will allocate the final $34.3 million of Massachusetts’ Volkswagen Settlement funds to support the transition to electric vehicles. A final amendment to the state’s VW Settlement Beneficiary Mitigation Plan (BMP) will allocate the funds in three categories: $26.8 million for Regional Transit Authority electric transit buses and chargers, $7.5 million for an electrification-only Volkswagen Solicitation, and $50,000 for administrative costs. The original BMP and its first amendment committed the first $40.7 million of Massachusetts’ $75 million share of a national settlement to resolve a vehicle emissions cheating scandal by Volkswagen.
“As Attorney General, I took on Volkswagen for flagrantly violating laws that protect public health and the air that we breathe and secured millions for our state to help meet our electric power needs,” said Governor Maura Healey. “We’re pleased to use these final settlement funds to reach our clean energy goals and support the electrification of our transit fleets.”
“These funds will go a long way toward supporting our Administration’s priority of regional equity,” said Lieutenant Governor Kim Driscoll. “By incentivizing electrification of our Regional Transit Authorities, we are both reducing greenhouse gases and improving public health in every corner of the Commonwealth.”
The 2017 Volkswagen court settlement resulted from litigation brought against Volkswagen by federal and state governments for the company’s unlawful use of “defeat devices,” producing fraudulent emission results for certain vehicles and excess pollution from those vehicles, in violation of federal and state laws. Massachusetts, through the efforts of the Attorney General’s Office under then-Attorney General Healey and the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), led multi-state litigation against Volkswagen, resulting in settlements with the state that included significant consumer relief and the largest ever state environmental penalty of more than $20 million.
This final 2023 BMP amendment issued today commits Massachusetts full $75 million Volkswagen Settlement allocation of:
- $48.8 million in total to support the purchase of electric transit buses and chargers by Regional Transit Authorities. The final 2023 amendment will provide $26.8 million to the Cape Ann Transit Authority, the Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority, the Montachusett Regional Transit Authority, and the Southeastern Regional Transit Authority. Previously, the December 2019 amendment allocated $22 million for the purchase of EV buses and chargers by the Pioneer Valley Transit Authority, the Martha’s Vineyard Transit Authority, and the Greater Attleboro Taunton Regional Transit Authority.
- $11.3 million for the purchase and installation of light-duty electric vehicle charging infrastructure across Massachusetts.
- $7.5 million through the January 2019 Volkswagen Open Solicitation for proposals to implement projects eligible under the Volkswagen Settlement.
- $7.5 million through the second Volkswagen Open Solicitation for proposals to implement electrification projects eligible under the Settlement; and
- $50,000 in administrative funds to disburse checks to grantees.
“Electrifying our regional transit systems is an issue of environmental justice,” said Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Rebecca Tepper. “The benefits will be felt with improved air quality, cutting-edge technologies that save money over the lifetime of the equipment, and a better quality of life for our residents.”
The Volkswagen Settlement BMP funds projects that:
- Help the Commonwealth achieve greenhouse gas (GHG) emission reduction targets and reduce air pollution in the transportation sector.
- Promote electrification of the state’s transportation network.
- Drive technological and policy progress in air pollution mitigation and GHG emissions reduction in the transportation network.
- Serve environmental justice populations; and
- Promote equitable geographic distribution across the state.
“Communities burdened by environmental hazards and impacted by the detrimental effects of poor air quality will be prioritized to receive this funding,” said MassDEP Commissioner Bonnie Heiple. “Our goal is to put more clean-running electric buses on the street, and support expansion of publicly available electric charging stations at workplaces, schools, and housing complexes.”
“I applaud the Healey-Driscoll Administration’s equity-based distribution of the $26.8 million in Volkswagen settlement funds to Regional Transit Authorities that resulted from Governor Healey’s former position as State Attorney General and her tenacious pursuit of Volkswagen’s disregard for the laws that protect the health of the Commonwealth’s citizens,” said Cape Cod Regional Transit Authority (CCRTA) Administrator Tom Cahir. “Here at CCRTA, we are thrilled to be a receiving participant of this significant settlement. This wonderful news, coupled with our comprehensive EV migration plan, will directly advance our aggressive efforts to create a regional transformation from fossil fuels to clean energy.”
“The Montachusett Regional Transit Authority (MART) is thankful to be receiving funds from the VW Settlement from the Healey-Driscoll Administration. These funds will be an integral part of our initial efforts to transition our transit fleet to zero emission vehicles,” said MART Administrator and CEO Bruno J. Fisher. “We look forward to working with the new administration on future programs to continue the transition of our bus and van fleets for the long-term health benefits of the residents of our region and the Commonwealth. This will greatly assist MART in taking the important first step in that transition.”
Funds spent under the Volkswagen Settlement so far have been used to replace older diesel vehicles and equipment with cleaner diesel and alternative fuel, including electric models, as well as funding the Massachusetts Electric Vehicle Incentive Program (MassEVIP) that provides grants for electric vehicle charging stations. MassEVIP funds Level 1 and 2 and Direct-Current Fast-Charging stations that are publicly available and Level 1 and 2 stations at workplaces, multi-unit dwellings, and educational campuses. More information on MassEVIP is available here. More information on Massachusetts projects completed using Volkswagen Settlement funds is available here.
MassDEP’s mission is to protect and enhance the Commonwealth’s natural resources – air, water and land – to provide for the health, safety and welfare of all people, and to ensure a clean and safe environment for future generations. In carrying out this mission, MassDEP commits to address and advance environmental justice and equity for all people of the Commonwealth; to provide meaningful, inclusive opportunities for people to participate in agency decisions that affect their lives; and to ensure a diverse workforce that reflects the communities we serve.